In India, there are two very distinct columns for courses of two kinds – job-oriented courses and traditional courses. In theory, the courses which are job-oriented are supposed to bring massive opportunities for employment to the students who have completed those courses and earned their degrees. A very relevant example can be a campus selection process in engineering and management universities. At the same time, ironically, traditional courses are generally supposed to bring education (confused with wisdom) and not a certainty for jobs. The question is, then, why do the students opt for such courses when they know they don’t have very much on offer. Do you have an answer?
The students who graduate with an English major, called English Honours or BA in English Literature as well, have generally two traditional lines available to pursue their careers. One can either become a teaching professional or a writing professional. The major conundrum is that one has to get more degrees in order to do so – degrees, diplomas, training and so on… and it has been so, all along. To become a professor, keep pursuing until you observe your early grey hair or get married before you submit your thesis for final approval. To become an editor, you may have to get certificates or training. To become a teacher, you have to have a B.Ed… so on. With a degree that tells you are an English Honours, you can pursue, in theory, many things or anything that you want (in terms of your career). However, in the practical world, you have to hoard degrees to pursue the most ideal choices (generally considered).
The question is – how and why the authorities should make English literature courses more employable? Whether they should do it or not is not a question anymore. It is an essential task and it has to be done. English literature graduates also need some exposure, some job experience and a close look at the industry before they throw themselves on the insane opportunities for growth. So, how can this be possible? How can we make things happen in this direction? What are the suggestions for improvement?
The syllabus needs to change:
This is the first-course correction that we might need. For English literature students, they must read whatever they have been reading until now. However, in addition, they must also study innovative use of their education side by side with the technology of the day so that they are aware of the industries or sectors that might have requirements for their talent. Content writing, creative writing, research and reference and so on… these things might be taught in addition to the conventional literary topics and works.
There should be some internship opportunities:
Imagine that fresh graduates with BA English Honours are picked up by private or government schools for teaching assistants in middle or primary schools as interns. This might be a 2-3 months internships and it will not only lighten the burden on the authorities as they are facing a scarcity of teachers but also give the fresh graduates an opportunity to have some wonderful experience in the very beginning of their career. Why cannot we do it?
Teach literature students to blog, vlog or create wonderful digital content:
Alok Mishra, the founder of English Literature Education, makes it very clear. He says:
“You can either be a Hamlet or be a Machiavelli (Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli). Given the circumstances we live and competition that we have to face once our fairy-tale sessions in English literature classroom end, we have to be equipped with multi-layered thinking and multi-faceted sets of skills. Otherwise, you are just a graduate or a post-graduate or the eternal seeker of that ‘one’ vacant seat as a professor that someone else might get because of their impact… what do you wish to be?”
And therefore, as we all know that not all the students can become professors or teachers because we lack that many seats, we can give them an ample opportunity to learn something that might earn them something, in exchange. Blogging, digital content writing, video blogging or anything that requires creative and critical thinking is an ideal thing to learn for English literature students and this is the earnest need of the hour.
These are some of the basic and yet essential suggestions that the authorities may think. With the implementation of flexible learning choices, as the New Education Policy gets rolled out, we can hope that many future steps will be taken in the course of time to ensure that everyone who is studying something may be able to get his or her share of ‘job’ in future. To everyone who is a constructive thinker, it should make sense. English literature has been there as a traditional course for long. We need some changes while keeping its royale touch intact. And I am sure it is very much possible!
By Parakashtha A Mishra for Literature News